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What did Renly mean by that odd statement to Catelyn


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#1 Dragon Roast

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:54 PM

In ACOK Catelyn meets Renly. He takes her to the top of a tower to show her his massive army and claim his right as King. She challenges him and says that Stannis has the better claim. Then Renly says something that strikes me as odd (emphasis added):

"Oh, there was talk of the blood ties between Baratheon and Targaryen, of weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters. No one but the maesters care about any of it. Robert won the throne with his warhammer."


This is in the year AL 299. We know that the daughter of Aegon V married an unnamed Baratheon. The only known child of that union was Steffon Baratheon, father to Robert, Stannis and Renly. Like many, I have assumed that the Baratheon claim to Targaryen blood was based on the marriage of Egg's daughter to some Baratheon. But that is NOT the claim that Renly cites.

He talks of "weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters" as the root of the Baratheon/Targaryen blood link. Ageon V was born in AL 199, so he had no kids to get married a hundred years past--and the phrase "elder Daughter" suggests more than one, but Aegon V only had one daughter and Jaehaerys II was his second son.

Renly's time-frame also rules out Orys Baratheon as the source of the link his House and House Targaryen.

So what is the source of Baratheon legitimacy to the IT that Renly cites?

The timing seems to suggest the children of Aegon IV (Aegon the Unworthy) or his granchildern. Of them, the only one to have a second son and more than one daughter was Maekar I, Egg's dad. Aerion (Brightflame) was the second son and Rhae was the eldest daughter. Their mates and fates of their children is unknown. Did they marry Baratheons? Or was it another Baratheon/Targaryen paring that Renly cites? Or did Renly lack a sense of his own history and anything in the past seemed like a hundred years ago to him?

Of course in AFFC, Measter Aemon tells Sam that it was through Egg's daughter that the Baratheon's had some Targ blood, so it is possible that Renly just had no idea what he was talking about, but the line "weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters" seems pretty specific and none of the details fit the marriage of Aegon V's daughter to some unnamed Baratheon.

It is an odd little mystery. Any ideas?

#2 otherbeef

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:59 PM

could just be a figure of speech not specifically referring to any second sons/first daughters but rather just referring to the confusion of all these succession matters.

#3 Nyrhex

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:06 PM

It is an odd little mystery. Any ideas?


In order of likelyhood:

1. Renly does'nt know his history.
2. Renly is a traitor, a rebel and userper, and he downplays the legality of Robert's legal claim in order to add legitimacty to his own claim (Robert had no real claim, and he took the crown. Why can't I?).
3. GRRM slip.
4. There is another reason why the Baratheon's have a claim to the IT that we do not know about, and that is what Renly was referencing.

#4 Dragon Roast

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:07 PM

Still, the term "second sons" seems to have a special meaning in the series. It could just be a figure of speech, but given GRRM, perhaps there is something more to it...

#5 Jslay427

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:21 PM

Renly was too busy pretending to be the storm god when he should have been receiving his lessons from good ol Maester Cressen. If he had, perhaps he would know his history.

#6 diremitar

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:30 PM

In GOT when Robert tells Ned that he should took the throne, Ned says "you had better claim".
Maybe Aegon had one more daughter who was married to some Stark and she was younger than Rhaelle. That could explain both Ned's and Renly's words although it's not only suitable explanation

#7 Black Mike Secret

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:45 PM

I think he was just saying that as a way of showing that these long drawn out claims of legitimacy really don't mean anything. It's who has the muscle makes the rules.

On a related note, I like the part in the show's History and Lore of Westeros: House Clegane where the Hound says something like "Most families claim some famous ancestor so far back that no one can prove them liars." Just goes to show how puffed up all of these "family lines" are.

#8 Red Raven

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:46 PM

What Black Mike Secret said.

Renly's just speaking figuratively of the links between the Baratheons and Targaryens - marriages of secondary children of both houses in the distant past that gave the Baratheons a blood link to the Targs but well beyond any reasonable expectation of being in the line of succession.

#9 UVA

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:53 PM

I think he was just saying that as a way of showing that these long drawn out claims of legitimacy really don't mean anything. It's who has the muscle makes the rules.


Exactly. This means nothing more than Renly's rather flippant way of describing how Robert became the 'legitimate' king: right of conquest (which isn't really a right in any real sense) gave Robert the power to rule and his Targaryen ancestry legitimized his claim. I think this was merely done to placate the loyalists and perhaps the general population who desired some kind of continuity of rule. I don't know of any evidence that Robert initiated the rebellion in order to claim the IT via his Targaryen blood; rather it was only after it seemed he could feasibly defeat the reigning Targaryen line through violence (at the Trident) that appeals were made to his common ancestry.

Edited by UVA, 25 July 2013 - 09:19 AM.


#10 Rahgh Neqaj

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 02:29 AM

According to Loras, although Renly disdained too much book learning, he owned books with "drawings that would turn a septon blind", implying some kind of homosexual pornography.[5]

(from http://awoiaf.wester...Renly_Baratheon)

Me thinks it is a combination of ignorance and PR - anything he's not interested in is said to be "hunderd years past" to excuse his not knowing and it reinforces his claim that lineages matter only to maesters but that it is the military situation which matters to everyone else. There may have been earlier marriages between Targaryens and House Baratheon - as far as I know we don't completely know both famiy trees but all important family members seem to be known. For all we know there may even be one or two Targaryen bastards hidden in the Baratheon line (besides Orys, I mean) but again it would be of no consequence: All that the maesters (and other law abiding people) need is the Rhaelle connection and that there are no surviving Targaryens. (Except that we know that there are but that's a different issue.) All the military folks need is knowledge of who's got the most swords alive at the end of ADoS.
----------------
ETA: The question of "rightful" heir/king is really just a yes/no thing. That's why only the Rhaelle connection matters.

Edited by Rahgh Neqaj, 23 July 2013 - 02:31 AM.


#11 SolFreer

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 02:43 AM

I think the answer is simple if you don't take him literally on "a hundred years past" (and a nice, round number like 100 is usually not meant to be precisely accurate).

Second sons and elder daughters then can simply mean that Aegon's children were born in the order: Duncan the Small, Rhaelle, Jaehaerys. Which would mean that Jaehaerys is the 'second son' but that Rhaelle is his 'elder sister' and hence if you follow the non-Andal rules of succession then Rhaelle's line is actually the royal line, so the Maester's could use this to justify that the Baratheons are the rightful heirs to the throne (even though this style of succession was outlawed after the first Dance of the Dragons).

#12 Ürglõvi

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:17 AM

I think the answer is simple if you don't take him literally on "a hundred years past" (and a nice, round number like 100 is usually not meant to be precisely accurate).

Second sons and elder daughters then can simply mean that Aegon's children were born in the order: Duncan the Small, Rhaelle, Jaehaerys. Which would mean that Jaehaerys is the 'second son' but that Rhaelle is his 'elder sister' and hence if you follow the non-Andal rules of succession then Rhaelle's line is actually the royal line, so the Maester's could use this to justify that the Baratheons are the rightful heirs to the throne (even though this style of succession was outlawed after the first Dance of the Dragons).

/agree.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':agree:' /> When it comes down to it, Robert had no legal claim to the throne while Daenerys and Viserys still lived. There was also the tiny fact that he was technically a traitor and rebel, but he had just won a war, so nobody complained.

"A hundred years past" was obviously a bit of an hyperbole, but not that much. These are Robert's grandparents we are talking about.

ETA: checked the wiki, Rhaelle was Aegon's youngest child. /bang.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bang:' />

Edited by Ürglõvi, 23 July 2013 - 08:21 AM.


#13 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:30 AM

ETA: checked the wiki, Rhaelle was Aegon's youngest child. /bang.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bang:' />

There isn't any source for it though. Not a single one in all five books. But quite a bit of hints that she was child number two.

#14 mormont

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:46 AM

I've always taken it that GRRM simply hadn't worked out the details of the Baratheon/Targaryen shared ancestry at the time he wrote ACOK. I may be wrong, but so far as I recall there's no indication at any earlier point that the relationship was so close.

#15 ab aeterno

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:58 AM

Exactly. This means nothing more than Renly's rather flippant way of describing how Robert became the 'legitimate' king: right of conquest (which isn't really a right in any real sense) gave Robert the ability and power to rule and his Targaryen ancestry legitimized his claim. I think this was merely done to placate the loyalists and perhaps the general population who desired some kind of continuity of rule. I don't know of any evidence that Robert initiated the rebellion in order to claim the IT via his Targaryen blood; rather it was only after it seemed he could feasibly defeat the reigning Targaryen line through violence (at the Trident) that appeals were made to his common ancestry.


I really think this is the answer. I've seen it argued now and again that Robert's claim derives from his Targaryen ancestry but that has never been my interpretation, and to be honest, it seems like a very weak argument to make. The issue of Targaryen ancestry is a political move to make Baratheon rule more palatable to loyalists, to provide continuity and (I suspect) as a means of ensuring stability - while the Baratheon claim officially derives from their Targaryen ancestry it maintains the narrative that the king on the Iron Throne is from superior bloodline to the other lords around the realm - without such a claim any major lord could more easily see themselves as a candidate for kingship and try to take the throne by force, reducing political stability. You only have to look at the arguments on the forum as to who should be king to see the efficacy of this move.

As an aside, I suspect (though we have no evidence, as far as I am aware,) that this was a Jon Arryn idea rather than a Robert idea, given Robert's feelings towards Targaryens and his attitude towards ruling.



Of course in AFFC, Measter Aemon tells Sam that it was through Egg's daughter that the Baratheon's had some Targ blood, so it is possible that Renly just had no idea what he was talking about, but the line "weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters" seems pretty specific and none of the details fit the marriage of Aegon V's daughter to some unnamed Baratheon.



My interpretation of the implications here is really that Renly is just demonstrating how absurd the idea that Robert was king because he had Targaryen blood, is. It's like saying that someone has a claim to the British throne because their uncle's mother's father's cousin was married to a grandchild of Queen Victoria. That was my interpretation, at least. I think the details of the relationship are incidental to Renly's argument/rhetoric.

Edited by ab aeterno, 23 July 2013 - 09:13 AM.


#16 aceluby

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:22 AM

He's just emphasizing the silliness of succession 'laws' and that a 'claim' is only as good as those who believe in it. People have used 'claims' to prop up who they see fit as the next ruler. The Dance w/ Dragons was the first time this happened, and the proclaimed heir never got her throne despite the previous king naming her as heir. Ned does it with Robert as well and Renly sees it for what it is. Out of everyone with 'claims' it seems that Renly is the only person in Westeros who truly 'gets it'... well, besides Tywin. With the crown doesn't come power and armies... with power and armies comes a crown

#17 James Kidd

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:22 AM

Orys Baratheon (founder of house Baratheon) was the bastard brother of Aegon I.

#18 Mr Bell

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:23 AM

I would say it was either a figure of speech, or Renly just doesn't know history.

Funnily enough, he was talking to an eldest daughter who married a second son /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#19 WildBlood

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:42 AM

Orys Baratheon (founder of house Baratheon) was the bastard brother of Aegon I.


pretty much this I would say...

#20 Ser Greg of House House

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:51 AM

In spite of popular belief, Robert Baratheon didn't simply take the throne. He had a claim, because Baratheons were linked to the Targaryens. There were others who could aspire the throne: Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, why not Tywin?

What Renly is saying is simply that claims don't matter. He has the biggest army, he will take the crown. Robert's claim was just blablabla and no one really cared.

He's right up to some point. Robert's claim probably helped, but it wasn't what got him in the Iron Throne.